Every year, Pro Football Focus releases its list of the top 50 players in the NFL. This year’s list has been released and a total of five New Orleans Saints players made the cut. The position of these players and a look at those who were left off is sure to be water cooler talk for the next several days. Even without Drew Brees, the Saints still had the most players on the list at 5. The Kansas City Chiefs were close behind with four players making the list. This New Orleans Saints team still has talent everywhere. Here are the five Saints players who made the PFF top-50 for 2021.
Five New Orleans Saints Made the PFF Top-50 for 2021
On the list of the top-50 players are eight wide receivers, five running backs, five tackles, and four safeties. The Saints make two of the top five tackles, and one at wide receiver, running back, and safety each. The Saints boasted a top-10 defense in the past few seasons so only having one defensive player on this list can be seen as a snub. A Sean Payton-coached offensive unit having multiple selections should not come as a surprise to anyone.
Saints Offensive Players in PFF Top-50
The offensive weapon Alvin Kamara made the list at number 39. Four running backs are ranked ahead of Kamara on this year’s list. Kamara might be one of the hardest running backs to rank though. He is not a strict between-the-tackles runner. In the Sean Payton offense, Kamara is spread out and used all over the field. He might only receive 200 rushes on the year but having around 100 targets in the passing game is a lock. The top-rated running back this year is Derrick Henry.
For comparison, Henry had over 300 rushing attempts in each of the past two years. This traditional rushing load is easier to rank than Kamara, even though the touches are equitable.
Michael Thomas is the other Saints offensive skill position player to make the list, ranking at number 44. This puts Thomas as the seventh-best receiver on the 2021 ranking. Injuries really derailed Thomas’ 2020 campaign. In Thomas’s previous three seasons, he was a lock for one of the best wide receivers in the game. Last season’s injury bug hurt his ranking on this year’s list. If any player on this year’s list can outplay their current PFF ranking, it will be Thomas. In his last healthy season, Thomas set the NFL record for receptions in a season. Expect a bounce-back season if Thomas is healthy in 2021.
Offensive Tackles Representing the Saints
The New Orleans Saints offensive line is always ranked near the top of the NFL. This performance is represented well in this year’s PFF rankings. The Saints have two of the five tackles that made the list. Ryan Ramczyk hits the list at number 28, the top-ranked Saints player and the third-ranked tackle overall. Terron Armstead comes in ranked 43 and the fourth-ranked tackle. According to the PFF Rankings, Ramczyk has a career ranking of over 90 on a scale of 100. Armstead has had three straight years of an 85 or better in pass blocking and was 15th in run blocking last season.
These two mountains anchor a great Saints offensive line. No matter who wins the Saints quarterback job in 2021, they will have a complete unit in front of them with Ramczyk and Armstead leading the way.
The Lone Defensive Player on the List
Making the list at the lowest position for the Saints is safety Marcus Williams. Williams comes in at number 48. Williams has been one of the most consistent players for the Saints since his rookie year. Even though some will only regard him as the one who missed the tackle against Stefon Diggs and the Vikings in the playoffs, Williams’ play has been outstanding and consistent year after year. The Saints franchise-tagged Williams because he is such a big part of the Saints defense. Williams should be in line for a long-term deal soon.
PFF Top-50 Snub and Review
The most glaring snub on this list is the Saints standout linebacker, Demario Davis. Davis has been among the leading NFL linebackers for the past several years. Davis has mostly been the lone bright light leading the middle of the Saints defense. Only four linebackers made the list in total. There are not many linebackers in front of Davis league-wide. With five players already on the list, the most of any team, it is difficult to have much contempt with the list in total. Davis is probably one of the least celebrated, superstar-level players in the NFL though, and deserves accolades as the other five players did.
The Saints are incredibly talented as the PFF top 50 rankings show. With many top players at various positions, the Saints will likely have something to say about how this year’s NFC shakes out.
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